The Danger of Drifting from the Word
I am excited to be with you today. I love being your pastor. And I love studying the Word. Today we are continuing our study of the Book of Hebrews. I am going to start by reminding you of last week and then we will use verse 1 of chapter 2 to learn very valuable and important ideas about the Bible. So let’s read Hebrews 2:1-4
1 So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. 2 For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. 3 So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak? 4 And God confirmed the message by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever he chose.
I. Intro. In the Beginning Was the Word
“Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son.” Hebrews 1:1-2
This verse is very similar to what John wrote in His Gospel about our Savior.
“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1
A. The Message of Hebrews 1
1. Hebrews 1 is all about: the final word of God, Jesus Christ.
In summary, chapter 1 says that the Son of God is the heir of all things (v. 2), he made the world (v. 2), he is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of God’s nature (v. 3), he upholds all things by the word of his power (v. 3), he made purification for sins (v. 3), he sat down at the right hand of God’s majesty (v. 3), and he is greater than any angel (v. 4) because angels worship him (v. 6). He is the mighty God (v. 8).
2. Greater than Everything: God has spoken by his Son and He is the Creator and Sustainer and Owner and Ruler and Redeemer of Everything!
II. Because of Who Jesus Is, Listen to Him!
“So we must listen” (2:1a)
A. This is a Command — something we must do.
1. The connection with chapter 1 is very important.
2. Chapter 2 begins, “For this reason . . . ” (or: some versions have, “therefore” or our version “so we must”). In other words chapter 2 begins by telling us that chapter 1 is the reason for this command. Because God has spoken by his Son in these final days, and because he is the Creator and Sustainer and Owner and Ruler and Redeemer of the world—above all angels—therefore (“for this reason . . . “) “we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard.”
B. God has Spoken through His Son, Do We Listen?
1. We could boil down the two chapters so far to this:
“In these last days God has spoken to us by a Son . . . for this reason we must pay closer attention to this word that he has spoken.” In other words, God has spoken by his Son, so listen, listen very carefully.
2. We desperately need to Hear .
What do you listen to? Whom do you listen to? God has spoken through his Son, do you listen to him? How does your listening to him compare to your listening to other things? We all want to listen to something. When we take a trip as a family we make sure we have the phone chargers, that our phones are connected to the car and that Pandora and Google Play are ready to go. We might even download a new album or movie to our iPhone, iPad, MacBook, Samsung or other devices, But how does all this compare to our listening to God’s Word? Are we listening to that? Are you making provisions for that? Or is all the other music and movies more important?
III. Listening Is Exceedingly Necessary
“listen very carefully to the truth we have heard” (2:1b)
A. We must do this with very close attention.
1. We cannot treat this Casually .
2. We cannot act as if we already know all we need to know, or that we have nothing to gain from listening to Jesus.
Hebrews 2:1. Literally it says, “It is exceedingly necessary that we give heed to what we have heard.”
It is not just an option that you can do if you are especially spiritual or have a crisis in front of you or if you are at camp or if you need to prepare some lesson. This is a word to all Christians: it is “exceedingly necessary to listen” to Jesus as the Word of God.
That’s the point of Hebrews 2:1. Listen to him. Consider him. Focus on him. Stay close to him and keep him in your thoughts. Learn more and more from him every day—what he is like and what he says and the way he sees the world.
Then again in Hebrews 12:1–2 the author says, “Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our (or fixing our) eyes on Jesus” There it is: “Fix your eyes on Jesus.” Consider Jesus! Listen to Jesus!
One of the great lessons of Hebrews is that we the readers will see how serious it is to listen to Jesus, the Word of God, and consider Jesus, and fix our eyes on Jesus. This is the first commandment in the book. It is not a difficult command: Listen! Consider! Look! These are not hard things to do—unless we don’t want to do them. The first command of this book is not “labor for Jesus,” but “listen to Jesus.” He is not commanding us to work for him, but to watch him. All our spiritual life-changes come from that.
“And the Lord…makes us more and more like him as we are changed.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
B. Pay Attention, so You Don’t Neglect Such a Great Salvation
“So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak?” (2:3)
This salvation message was first announced by Jesus and then delivered by the Apostles who passed on His Message!!! Let’s pay attention!!
The one we are to pay close attention to is the Creator and Sustainer and Owner and Ruler and Redeemer of the world. And what he has to say to us is a “very great salvation.” Do you see that in verse 3: “What makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation?”
1. Scorning His Importance
So if we choose not to listen to Jesus and consider him and fix our eyes on him, then we are scorning his importance described in chapter 1 and we are neglecting a “great salvation.”
2. Now why would anybody want to do that?
a. The only reason would be if we regard something else as more important to listen to and consider and fix our eyes on.
– But what distinguishes a Christian from a non-Christian is that a Christian has been born again with a new nature that regards Christ as supremely valuable. And so we find the argument of chapter 1 powerfully compelling. God has spoken in these last days by a Son . . . For this reason we must listen and we want to listen all the more closely to what he says.
b. Living a Life of Contemplation
The Christian life is first and foremost a life of contemplation—listening to Jesus, considering Jesus, fixing the eyes of the heart on Jesus. Everything else in the Christian life grows out of this. Without this the Christian life is simply unlivable.
IV. Don’t Drift Away
“or we may drift away from it.” (2:1c)
This is why the next phrase in verse 1 is a warning: ” . . . we may drift away from it.” “For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” The first reason for paying close attention to what we have heard in God’s word through his Son is that the Son is infinitely greater than angels: Creator, Sustainer, Owner, Ruler, Redeemer. Therefore how could you not want to be vigilant in listening and considering and fixing your eyes on him?
A. Pay Attention, Don’t Drift into Destruction
1. Now comes a second reason for paying close attention to what we have heard of God’s Word through his Son: if we don’t do this, we will drift away into destruction.
2. Consider this word “drifting.” It means float by. It’s what a piece of bark or a leaf or a dead fish does in the river—it floats by the boat that is being rowed up stream. It takes no life and no motion to float by. One need only do nothing, and you will float by.
3. Hebrews says that if we do not pay closer attention to the Word of God, we will float by—we will drift away.
-What are we drifting from, from God’s Word. We all know people that this has happened to. Some are in this room. Some are hearing this sermon. There is no urgency. No vigilance. No focused listening or considering or fixing the eyes on Jesus. And the result has not been a standing still, but a drifting away.
Drifting is a deadly thing in the Christian life. And the remedy to it, according to Hebrews 2:1, is, “Pay close attention to what you have heard.” That is, consider what God is saying in his Son Jesus. Fix your eyes on what God is saying and doing in the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
B. Stop Drifting: Be Satisfied with the Love of God
One of the most powerful words to me in Haiti as I was teaching was the simple prayer in Psalm 90:14,
“Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love”
That is our “job” as Christians: being satisfied in the with the love of God spoken to us in the Son of God, so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days—and so be free from the deceitfulness of downriver desires.
C. The Danger of Drifting Away from the Word
“For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak?” (2:2-3)
Verses 2 & 3 tell us why this is so dangerous.
1. The danger: Failing to pay close attention to God’s Word
2. How can We not pay attention to God’s Word?
– It was first delivered by angels, then directly by Jesus and then those who heard him speak gave us the Word, and finally God confirmed the message through signs, wonders, miracles and the like (see the Book of Acts).
– The drifting away that results is described in verse 3 as “ignoring a great salvation.” And this is said to be extremely dangerous.
###. How dangerous is this LACK OF FOCUS ON GOD’S WORD?
So dangerous that if we go on in the way of neglecting this great salvation—not listening to Jesus day by day, and not considering Jesus, and not fixing our eyes on Jesus—the result will be that we will not escape. That is, we will not escape the judgment of God. We will be lost. We will not inherit eternal life. We will perish in hell.
“Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven!” Hebrews 12:25
D. Drifting Is Infinitely Dangerous
1. If we neglect this great salvation, and drift into the love of other things, then we will not Escape. We will perish.
2. The mark of the true child of God is that that they do not drift for long. A Christ Followers return is Rapid .
– If you are drifting this morning, one of the signs of hope that you are born again is that you feel pricked for this—a rising desire in your heart to turn your eyes on Jesus and consider him and listen to him in the days and months and years to come.
– And one of the signs that you may not be born again, may not be a Follower of Christ, is that you hear what I am saying and feel no desire to guard against drifting.
The argument given in verse 2 for why we will not escape if we drift and neglect our great salvation is that
“For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm” .
So, as always in the Bible, God graciously is giving us in this book positive and negative incentives to embrace our great salvation and listen to the great Savior.
- Negatively, he says that we will perish if we drift away from the Word of God and neglect our great salvation.
- Positively he says that this Word is such that how could anyone not want to listen and linger and live in this Word—the Creator of all things, the Upholder of all things, the Heir of all things, the Ruler of all things from the right hand of Majesty, and the Purifier of all our sins, if we will trust him? How could we not want to pay attention to this Word and consider him and fix our eyes on him!
v. Summary: God has Spoken to us through His Son, He Confirmed the message with Miracles and Gifts of the Spirit (2:4). Let’s listen to His Message and Draw Close to Jesus, Fixing our eyes on Him, so we don’t Drift Away from our Great Salvation.
Weekly Bible Reading: Monday – Saturday: Hebrews 7–13